MADISON, Ala. — Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley had his own troubles this year with an embarrassing audio recording surfacing. But last week’s release of a recording of Donald Trump making off-color remarks about women cost Trump the Republican governor’s vote.
Bentley was asked about the issue during remarks to the Madison County Leadership Class Wednesday.
He told the audience he wasn’t going to vote for Trump, a position he first announced Saturday.
The governor paused and then addressed the issue head on, including a reference to his own well-publicized, tape recording of the governor speaking in explicit terms to his former top political advisor Rebekah Mason.
“I said, ‘you know, you know they’re going to mock me, and they’re going to make fun of me,’ because honestly I said something a few years ago I shouldn’t have said, all right and I admit that … ,” Bentley said.
He said there’s no comparison with Trump.
“I don’t have a pattern of being derogatory and degrading women,” Bentley said. “I don’t have a pattern ever, of degrading those who are disabled, those who have cerebral palsy, those who are not of the same color that I am.
“I just don’t have that attitude and I don’t think the leader of this country ought to have that attitude.”
Bentley said he wasn’t an early Trump supporter, and criticized Trump on Feb. 29 for failing to disavow the endorsement of David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader and political candidate.
“I denounced the fact that Donald Trump would not denounce David Duke, the Ku Klux Klan guy, for endorsing him, he would never denounce that,” Bentley said.
The governor said he understands voters who are frustrated with the federal government and feel like they are not being heard. He said Trump has been successful in attracting those voters.
But Bentley said Trump’s approach is wrong for the country.
“Looking at what we really want for the America that we love, anger and bitterness, and resentment and putting other people down, and not respecting other individuals because of their differences, that’s not, that’s not America,” Bentley said.
The governor stressed that he’s not telling anyone else who to vote for and he’s not about to support Democrat Hillary Clinton. He’s undecided on a presidential choice, but he declares that he’s still a loyal Republican.
“And I’m going to vote for every Republican on the ticket, except Donald Trump,” Bentley said.